Optimising your website for newsletter subscriptions: tips and strategies
11 minutes reading time
A continuous flow of new subscriptions is the best basis for a sustainable email marketing strategy, but how can you make sure that your website will be a true lead magnet? We asked our product colleague and UX specialist Girbaud.
Don’t try to reach potential customers via tiresome overlays or annoying pop-ups. It is counterproductive.
Nevertheless, allowing your address list to grow is not the obvious way forward. Many websites use pushy pop-ups or overlays. Some even buy lists. These actions lead to more addresses in your list, but unfortunately (and justifiably) these are no high-quality leads. In this blog, I give you a detailed overview of the crucial possibilities you should consider when designing your opt-in strategy.
Today, you can promote your newsletter in many ways:
Footers of email signatures;
Posts about your newsletter on your social channels;
Promoting your newsletter at the end of a webinar;
Posting advertisements on the Internet (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc);
Collaborating with influencers;
Physical promotion material.
There are more possibilities, of course, but those mentioned above are the most easily accessible. The most obvious and effective way to promote your newsletter, however, is your website. Many of the methods above are ways to lure your target group to your websites. Yet, it is important that you know the content of your newsletter and what exactly you promote.
An important question you can ask yourself before promoting your newsletter:
What’s the use of this umpteenth newsletter?
No need to worry if you cannot find a decent answer to this. We will help you. It is essential that you give your subscriber added value. Your newsletter should be focused on providing value, not only extracting value from your subscribers. If you do opt for collecting data without giving anything in return, you will lose more subscribers than you gain.
Never forget that a newsletter should be relevant and useful to your target group. You can achieve this merely by promotion codes and discounts, for these are only applicable to persons who want to order a product or service at that specific moment.
A good starting point would be to ask yourself the question of which advice and support you can offer your target group. How can you mitigate or even solve their concerns so that they meet their objectives?
I’m going to make them an offer they can’t refuse
It has already been suggested that we should give our target group a good offer which both they and we benefit from. There are numerous websites that make a newsletter available without any form of offer. To make sure your newsletter is interesting to people and motivates them to subscribe, the following aspects need to be taken into account:
The benefits of the newsletter itself;
An incentive to encourage subscriptions.
Below, we discuss the incentive aspect in further detail.
What is a lead magnet?
A ‘lead magnet’ is something you can give to all of your new subscribers. It can be about ebooks, free lessons, free webinars, tips, a discount, etc. There are many possibilities, but all depends on how far you are prepared to go.
If you do not have any inspiration, you can always have a look at the OptinMonster list, where 69 lead magnets you can apply are described in detail. It also provides information about lead magnets in general.
We can also give you some advice about selecting a lead magnet.
Relevance Your lead magnet should be relevant with respect to the content or product you offer. In an ideal scenario, your lead magnet depends on the context. Various blog posts or website pages can have different lead magnets.
Digital A physical incentive is normally more expensive than a digital one. Besides, you will have to send a physical product, and you will lose time. With a digital incentive, your target group has direct access and you will have immediate satisfaction
Useful Your lead magnet should see to it that your target group’s concern or problem is solved. Therefore, it should have an object.
Having only a good lead magnet will not suffice, of course. Your newsletter has to emanate enough value to convert your target group into subscribers.
Communicating your offer is not easy, as you want to give your target group much information without making them read a lot of material. You would do well to consider the following:
Focus on the benefits of a subscription;
Consider the specific parts of your newsletter;
Refer to some of the concerns of your target group.
When persons from your target group want to subscribe to your newsletter, they will have many questions, such as:
What if they sell my personal data?
Could the content be nonsense?
How easy is unsubscribing?
What if I receive too many emails?
Would they push me into buying a product?
In an ideal scenario, you want to answer as many of these questions as possible. Inform your users by all means:
that you will not share their email address;
how often your newsletter is sent;
what type of content you send;
that they can unsubscribe easily at all times.
Offering your newsletter
Finally, you know the content of your newsletter, but you still do not know how to offer it on your website. There are many ways to draw your target group’s attention to your newsletter, but not every way is the right way.
The bad way
I wish I could say the following techniques do not work, but unfortunately they do. If you irritate enough users, a significant number will do what you expect of them. But at what cost? For every person who subscribes to your newsletter, ten others turn away from it. This is harmful for the user and your business. Examples include:
overlapping subscription forms that are hard to click away from;
We have to think about what the best moment is to show them a subscription form. There are different methods I can recommend:
A ‘sticky’ subscription form in the side column;
A newsletter option in the navigation;
A call to action in the body of multiple posts/pages;
A subscription form in the footer.
You can use multiple methods simultaneously and possibly use A/B testing to investigate which method would work best for your target group. In addition, it would be interesting to make a page that is entirely devoted to your newsletter. By doing so you can always link to this page when you promote your newsletter.
Choosing the right moment for this call to action is not easy, and it differs per website. I recommend that you process the calls to action to your newsletter in the user journey. In this way, you do not disrupt the natural flow for the user, and you have a better chance to convert this user into a subscriber.
As a last resort I would consider a pop-up overlay where users can subscribe. These pop-up overlays are often considered highly irritating, and sometimes make users leave the website before they have read anything. So I advise that you use this option only when the user is about to leave your website. In this pop-up, you can place a subscription form with your offer. Eventually, pop-ups are a perfect way to catch the reader’s attention, although they increase the chance that your target group turns away from you.
In principle, drawing attention to your newsletter works the same as for your other calls to action. There are many theories about this subject and about what works best. Take the copy into account and see to a clear contrast so that your call to action stands out and encourages a visitor to click it. Yet, there is some extra advice I can give you for the call to action in your newsletter, so that it will certainly attract your visitors’ attention.
Position Try to ignore the right-hand side of your website. Users tend to ignore the right-hand columns on websites. It is therefore a good idea to process your call to action in the content of your page.
Subtle animations Animations are an effective way to draw attention. Sometimes they are even too effective and could be regarded as irritating. A good use of animations for calls to action are fade-ins. Let your call to action fade in. If you use multiple fade-ins, the call to action should fade in last.
Colour You can play with contrasts to make your call to action stand out. Do not forget that the contrasting colour should fit in with your colour palette.
Images You can enhance your call to action by using images. They allow you to provide more context. Avoid the use of arrows or other elements that attract attention. This type of image is cliché and comes across as obtrusive.
Unfortunately, you lose many subscribers in this phase, because many forget or cannot see or find the email immediately.
To prevent these problems, it is recommended that you create a page that is devoted to this process. The users could be led to this page after they have submitted their subscription.
I would advise that you make a kind of tutorial on this page, explaining how subscribers confirm their subscription.
Next, it is very important that you keep your promise and give the brand-new subscribers their reward. You can also include this in your tutorial.
Test and improve
It is important that you continuously test your methods until you have optimised the entire process. There is no golden rule for this; how target groups respond to certain incentives differs per target group.
Experimenting with various calls to action and lead magnets is essential.